DEPTH IS NOW A STRENGTH: McClanahan Seeing Impressive Gains Across TWCA Program
TAKING THE LEAP FROM TAPPS 4A TO 5A IN ATHLETICS IS A BIG JUMP, ESPECIALLY IN FOOTBALL.
The Warriors of TWCA took a few lumps in 2020 but gave some out too, finishing third in an extremely tough district and reaching the postseason.
So, what does this year look like under coach Chris McClanahan?
"The biggest improvement is our depth," he said. "For several private schools, us included, we have to play so many guys both ways. Now, we have 11 starters on offense and 11 starters on defense with no overlap. Sure, we will have some players go both ways at times, but our depth is becoming a strength."
Did you say strength?
With the help of Warrior strength and conditioning coordinator Tim Walker, the football team looks a little different. "We have the best in the business and he's really a big part of our special sauce," McClanahan said. "The confidence he is building in our kids is incredible, because they are seeing gains in the weight room and in their sports performance with speed and agility. He talks nutrition, hydration and injury prevention. He's legit.
"With the depth and conditioning, we are deeper, fresher and stronger when it counts."
TWCA has some players, too.
The defense looks stingy with seniors Ezekiel Jurado and Eli Tocabens manning the line. All-state returner Sean Kane and Ryan Leslie patrol the middle of the field with Jacob Rios and Dereck Felder locking down the secondary. Gio Awasum came off the basketball court to get in the mix and is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound corner, who could emerge as a star this season. Sebastian Bryngelson is also a playmaker in the back seven on defense.
Offensively, it also starts up front. Allstater Kolby Gorman and Max Abernathy (Lake Creek-transfer) are massive at 6-foot-5, 290-pounds each. Keller Davis complements them in the trenches.
They lead the way for QB Josh Johnson and backs Ryan Leslie and Roric Hawkins on the ground. The playmaker is Blake Wiley, who must have the ball in his hands. Johnson has a pair of big-time receivers in Jake Cole (6-7) and Keaton Harvey (6-2), who can stretch the field.
"Josh does a great job managing the offense and we have some playmakers, who could start at some big public schools," McClanahan said. "The running game opens up the offense for us down field and that all starts with blocking and protection."
With the right pieces in place, TWCA is in the conversation for a district title.
"We know Second Baptist is the measuring stick," he said. "Fort Bend Christian took it to us last year and has several move-ins, but we are right there. The goal is to be more gap-sound, especially on defense to hold down the score.
"Let's get to the fourth quarter and compete."
Sounds like a plan.